Law 37: Create Compelling Spectacles


Striking imagery and grand symbolic gestures create the aura of power—everyone responds to them. Stage the spectacles for those around you, full of arresting visuals and radiant symbols that heighten your presence. Dazzled by appearances, no one will notice what you are really doing.

People do not always want words, or rational explanations, or demonstrations of the powers of science; they want an immediate appeal to their emotions. Give them that and they will do the rest—such as imagine they can be healed by the light reflected from a rock a quarter million miles away.

How to Seem Larger Than Life
1. Play with images, weaving visual clues into an encompassing gestalt.
2. Establish a trademark to set yourself apart.
3. Find an image or symbol from the past that will neatly fit your situation.
4. Put it on your shoulders like a cape.

The Risky Business of Using Words
Words are dangerous instruments, and often go astray.
· The words people use to persuade us virtually invite us to reflect on them with words of our own; we mull them over, and often end up believing the opposite of what they say. (That is part of our perverse nature.)
· It also happens that words offend us, stirring up associations unintended by the speaker.
· Words put you on the defensive
· If you have to explain yourself your power is already in question.
· Words stir up arguments and divisions

The Positive Affect of Using Visuals
Visuals, short-circuits the labyrinth of words.
· It discourages questions, creates forceful associations, resists unintended interpretations, communicates instantly, and forges bonds that transcend social differences.
· It strikes with an emotional power and immediacy that leave no gaps for reflection and doubt.
· Like music, it leaps right over rational and reasonable thoughts.
· The image, on the other hand, imposes itself as a given.
· Images bring people together.

Understand the Primacy of Sight among the Senses

  1. The visual has come to dominate the other senses and is the sense we most depend on and trust.
    · As Gracian said, "The truth is generally seen, rarely heard."
  2. Never neglect the way you arrange things visually.
    · Factors like color, for example, have enormous symbolic resonance.
  3. The visual contains great emotional power.
    · Find and associate yourself with the images and symbols that will communicate in this immediate way today, and you will have untold power.
  4. Most effective of all is a new combination—a fusion of images and symbols that have not been seen together before, but that through their association clearly demonstrate your new idea, message or religion.
    · The creation of new images and symbols out of old ones in this way has a poetic effect— viewers' associations run rampant, giving them a sense of participation.

The Sequence of Visual Images

  1. The order in which they appear creates a symbol.
    · The first to appear, for instance, symbolizes power
    · The image at the center seems to have central importance.
  2. You can make your own mythology out of figures from more recent history.
    · The idea is to give yourself an aura, a stature that your normal banal appearance simply will not create.
  3. Using symbols also has a courtier-like effect, since they are often gentler than brutish words.
  4. Use the power of symbols as a way to rally, animate, and unite your troops or team.
  5. The best way to use images and symbols is to organize them into a grand spectacle that awes people and distracts them from unpleasant realities.
    · People love what is grand, spectacular, and larger than life.
  6. Appeal to their emotions and they will flock to your spectacle in hordes.
  7. The visual is the easiest route to their hearts.

Remember: Your search for power depends on shortcuts. You must always circumvent people's suspicions, their perverse desire to resist your will. Images are an extremely effective shortcut: Bypassing the head, the seat of doubt and resistance, they aim straight for the heart. Overwhelming the eyes, they create powerful associations, bringing people together and stirring their emotions. With the white light of the moon in their eyes, your targets are blinded to the deceptions you practice